Air Pollution

Smog's Excess Burden on Baby Boomers

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 01, 2006

The Ontario Medical Association has just released a new report, Smog's Excess Burden on Baby Boomers (PDF download), in which the OMA projects what it calls the Illness Costs of Air POllution (ICAP) over the next 20 years.

For 2006, the gruesome numbers for smog-related illness are up from 2005:

According to the OMA, the cause of this year-over-year increase is the fact that the population is aging, and older people are more susceptible to illness from air pollution due to the increased likelihood of other pre-existing health conditions.

Perhaps surprisingly, the biggest risk factors are cardiovascular disease, not lung disease. Between now and 20206, the OMA predicts that cardiac hospital admissions for patients 18 to 65 will increase by 14 percent, but the same admissions for patients over 65 will increase 81 percent.

"We are not reporting," the OMA write, "on patients who are on their deathbeds, but rather those who are functioning well and who, without the impact of smog pollution, do not have any expectation of early death."

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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